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Tropic of Chaos

Tropic of Chaos

By Christian Parenti

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Tag: Barack Obama

Practice Course

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Posted on Mar 10, 2009 READ MORE    


Put Single-Payer on the Table

Obama promises health-care reform, but he has taken single-payer health care off the table. While single-payer reduces the administrative costs and removes the profit that insurance companies add to health-care delivery, such solutions get almost no space in the debate.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP photo / Virginia Mayo

Biden Talks Afghanistan in NATO Huddle

Vice President Joe Biden held forth at a NATO meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, reinforcing President Barack Obama’s message from last weekend about a slight shift in foreign policy with regard to Afghanistan and urging NATO to be vigilant about the threat of attacks from extremist groups harbored by Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Chuck Kennedy

Stem Cells Are Go

Barack Obama officially reversed his predecessor’s ban on federally funded stem cell research on Monday, promising to “vigorously support scientists who pursue this research.” The president also said his White House would restore “scientific integrity to government decision making.” Good luck with that.

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Adam Mancini

Obama’s Troop Shuffle Leaves Us Dizzy

The president will withdraw 12,000 troops from Iraq over the next six months, but where will he send them? Back to America? Ski trip to Aspen? Or perhaps he’ll just airlift the veterans to Afghanistan, where a similar number of reinforcements has been promised over a similar period.

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE



State Dept. / WikiMedia Commons

Clinton Scores a Hit With Talk-Show Diplomacy

Hillary Clinton’s media savvy was on full display Saturday during an appearance on the Turkish equivalent of “The View.” Dishing on family and fashion, Clinton was by all accounts a hit in a country where only 9 percent view the U.S. favorably. Update: Video

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE


If Only Obama Were as Radical as They Say

While conservatives cry socialism, the president is trying to steer a moderate course. Moderation, however, may be the wrong recipe. There is something deeply disturbing about the drip, drip, drip of billions into the banking system with no apparent impact.

Posted on Mar 8, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Economic Blues, Obama’s Successes

Has there been any good news in recent days? Robert Scheer thinks so and says why on this week’s “Left, Right & Center.” Arianna Huffington, meanwhile, has some questions about Barack Obama’s economic decisions, while Tony Blankley wonders if there aren’t too many banking types in the new government.

Posted on Mar 6, 2009 READ MORE


Gupta
reportercaps.com

Gupta Pulls Plug on Surgeon General Post

The rocky road to staffing still-vacant government positions suffered a bit of a setback Thursday, as the creamy filling—Dr. Sanjay Gupta, henceforth known as “The Gupta”—of Obama’s team withdrew his name from consideration for the post of surgeon general.

Posted on Mar 6, 2009 READ MORE


Chow Chows
kukuchew.com

Unemployment Keeps On Rising

Not since Ronald Reagan’s reckless free marketeering have we seen unemployment this high: The U.S. jobless rate hit 8.1 percent in February, with 651,000 jobs cut during the month.

Posted on Mar 6, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi and Pitt
AP photo / Susan Walsh

OMG, Brad Pitt in D.C.!

Mayhem ensued Thursday when actor Brad Pitt visited Capitol Hill to meet with President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about rebuilding New Orleans. An anonymous Senate source told the AP that Pitt was possessed of a “nice face” but was “waaaay too skinny.” These politicians need to get their stuff together.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Jon Stewart Is Mad as Hell

What’s more offensive than CNBC reporter Rick Santelli’s rant against Barack Obama’s supposed intention to throw only a table scrap of bailout money to foreclosed homeowners? His network’s laughable coverage of the biggest economic news story since the Great Depression.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Limbaugh
a.abcnews.com

Is the Limbaugh Love-In a Deliberate Distraction?

Is Rush Limbaugh’s sudden elevation to the top tier of the Republican Party a naturally occurring phenomenon ... or a vast left-wing conspiracy? Some among the GOP’s ranks suspect that the latter is the answer.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi Has Reason to Smile

It’s “a completely different world,” says the House speaker, delighted by “the fact that we have a Democratic president who ... put forth an agenda for America that contained many of the issues that we have been fighting for over the years.”

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


The Man Who Won’t Change

Rush Limbaugh asks why women don’t like him. Well, I think I know why. Pull up a chair, my dears, and I’ll tell you, and him, a sad, sad story.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Finding Peace in the Culture Wars

If President Obama’s primary task is to restore economic growth, he has also been waging a quiet, long-term campaign to ease the nation’s divisions around religious and moral questions.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Rushing Toward Irrelevance

Once, conservatives liked to say that “ideas matter.” Although many of their theories later proved flimsy, they at least attempted to address real problems with fresh thinking. But ideas no longer matter—and in fact they’re dangerous, according to the maximum leader of the right.

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Agents

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Posted on Mar 4, 2009 READ MORE    


Friends In High-Tech Places

The FCC has incredible power over the health of our democracy, from how we get our information to the technology we use to freely express ourselves—and the billions of dollars made in between—yet we tend to know little about the people who wield that power. The latest technocrat nominated to take charge of the commission is Julius Genachowski, an old school chum of the president.

Posted on Mar 4, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Coalition of the Unwilling

President Barack Obama met recently with the prime ministers of Canada and Britain, two NATO allies looking for a way out of Afghanistan even as the U.S. is talking escalation.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Chris Greenberg

Secret Bush Memos Gave President Even More Power

President Bush’s memo fetish is well documented, but the Obama administration has just made public a series of memos that said the executive had extraordinary powers far beyond those traditionally considered legal. According to the crack legal minds of the Bush administration, the president could overrule the other branches of government.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE


Jerusalem
state.gov

That’s Why They Call It Diplomacy

The chances of peace in the Middle East over the next four to eight years have something to do with what Hillary Clinton is able to achieve there. We’re getting a first glimpse this week, as Clinton makes overtures to Syria, Iran and the Palestinians while trying not to threaten Israel’s BFF status.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE


school scene
AP photo / Carlos Osorio

The Rebirth of Education

A friend of mine, J.M. Zimmerman, once stated that to revitalize our schools, engage our children and ultimately save our planet will require “the death of education and its rebirth.” Sometimes systems are so flawed that they need to be scrapped and replaced rather than fiddled with or fixed. 

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE


Withdrawal 101

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Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE    


Medicare (Dis-)Advantage

Obama’s bid to reduce the taxpayer-funded slush fund that flows to the managed-care insurance industry through Medicare is an emphatic, if overdue, effort to turn Washington around.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

America’s New Trajectory

Just six weeks into his term, Obama has opened his bid to redraw the boundaries of our politics and expand the realm of the possible.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE


Emanuel

Rahm Emanuel: Limbaugh Is the Voice of the GOP

What does the future hold for the Grand Old Party? For his part, President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gave some credit, however credible, to Rush Limbaugh as an intellectual force to be reckoned with on the right. Here’s what Emanuel had to say on Sunday’s “Face the Nation.”

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE


Limbaugh and Steele
Composite image: mediabistro.com / AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Limbaugh and Steele Lock Horns in GOP Rumble

¿Quién es más macho? And who’s the rightful leader of the GOP? Both Rush Limbaugh and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele are claiming the title in a curious kind of public arm-wrestling match that also pits entertainment against politics (as if the two weren’t already interconnected).

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE



Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Michael J. Ayotte

It’s Obama’s War Now

Combat troops are to be pulled out of Iraq by August 2010, President Obama said, but some 50,000 occupation troops will remain behind. Someone should let the Iraqis know the distinction.

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE


Redistributionist, and That’s Just Fine

The well-off will pay more in taxes. And before the howling on the right gets too loud, consider that we have just gone through a long era involving a far less frank form of redistribution—upward.

 

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE


Getting Better

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Posted on Mar 1, 2009 READ MORE    


The Sports Nut

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Posted on Mar 1, 2009 READ MORE    


Rush Limbaugh
politicsandfunk.com

Limbaugh Holds Court at Conservative Conference

If there was any question as to how Rush Limbaugh is positioning himself vis-à-vis the new administration, that was obliterated by his performance Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, where he once again made it clear that he’s not wishing President Obama well.

Posted on Mar 1, 2009 READ MORE


Obama

Obama Pushes His Budget Plan

In his weekly address, President Barack Obama makes the case for his proposed budget scheme, arguing that while it might rankle the likes of Washington lobbyists, it will deliver on the promises he made during his campaign.

Posted on Feb 28, 2009 READ MORE


Obama on the phone
enscriber.com

Obama Calls Bush About Iraq

Before he made his announcement Friday about withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, President Barack Obama called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as well as his predecessor in the White House, George W. Bush. The White House described the call to Bush as a courtesy.

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 READ MORE


Obama

Iraq Withdrawal Lite

Since he was elected president, Barack Obama has said he plans to withdraw most of the U.S. troops stationed in Iraq by August 2010. That’s a little more time than he said he’d take to do the job before he was voted into office. Does this constitute a major violation of his pre-election pledge?

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 READ MORE


Bush and Tantoh
AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Africa’s Good Friend

Linda, a 24-year-old sex worker in Kigali, Rwanda, didn’t want to be tested for HIV because she feared she would find she would soon die. Her fear was not unfounded. Being aware of one’s HIV-positive status was a first step toward dying of AIDS in Rwanda, as in most parts of Africa. Anti-retroviral drugs were expensive and hard to come by. But that was before President Bush’s PEPFAR.

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Obama’s Budget, Jindal’s Debut

Disagreement abounds on this week’s episode of “Left, Right & Center,” especially when it comes to President Obama’s budget plan and the origins of the economic crisis it’s intended to remedy. Who’s the moderator again? And is Bobby Jindal done for?

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 READ MORE


George Costanza
blogspot.com

U.S. Economic Shrinkage Worst in 25 Years

Either the U.S. economy was in the pool during the last three months of 2008 or the economic crisis is worse than expected. The nation’s GDP shrank 6.25 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, almost doubling the preceding quarter’s contraction rate of 3.8 percent.

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 READ MORE


Combat vs. Support
nytimes.com

War in Iraq: 2003-2010

Updated: Well, not exactly a real pullout, but a plan to be announced by the Obama administration on Friday is expected to withdraw “combat” troops from Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010, officially ending U.S. combat operations in the war-torn country while keeping 50,000 ambiguously labeled “support troops” there.

Posted on Feb 27, 2009 READ MORE


Robin-Hood Republicanism?

Only months after the 2008 primaries, most Americans probably don’t remember Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul. But that doesn’t mean the conservative populism they championed during their campaigns is as fleeting as their dark-horse candidacies.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 READ MORE


Clooney

Clooney in Chad

The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof recently took at trip to Chad with an unlikely sidekick: George Clooney. Kristof was skeptical at first, but Clooney—always the charmer!—won him over, and thus Kristof came to see the potential benefits of celebrity advocacy.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 READ MORE


Jindal
blogs.wsj.com

GOP Throwing Jindal Under the Bus?

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal just might be going through the quickest rise to prominence, followed by the fastest plummet from the pedestal, in recent political history. Mere moments after he had given his big debut speech Tuesday night, the fallout began—and much of it came from within his own party.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Foraggio Fotographic

At Last, Accepting Some Clues From Across the Pond

We suddenly seem willing to consider sensible ideas that were always deemed unthinkable. Soon we may be mature enough to observe how other developed countries address problems that have baffled us for generations.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 READ MORE


Government’s Long Night May Be Ending

Obama’s message was plain: The era of bashing government is over. So, too, is the folklore of a marketplace capable of producing abundance without regulation, oversight or public intervention.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Redux?

For someone who spent much of the Democratic primary season running against the Clinton era, Obama sounds an awful lot like President Clinton.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 READ MORE


David Brooks

David Brooks Calls Jindal’s Speech ‘Insane’ and ‘a Disaster’

When civilizations collapse, mass hysteria ensues, often followed by cannibalism—a scenario familiar to the Republican Party, in which old friends are now turning on each other with reckless abandon.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 READ MORE


Obama speech
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Getting Warmer

We are lucky to have Barack Obama as president. I write that even though I believe the content of his Tuesday evening speech deserved no more than a B+ / A-, for its failure to seriously address the origins of the banking crisis and for only hinting at the severe military budget cuts required to get close to his goal of reducing the federal deficit by the end of his first term.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 READ MORE



White House

The President’s Address to Congress

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama acknowledged the dire state of the economy, but struck a hopeful tone as he expanded on his vision for recovery. Investments in energy, education and health care will be key, he said, as will an expanded bailout of the financial sector. (Summary, video and full text after the jump)

Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE


Jindal
Flickr/dsb nola

Jindal Disses Obama’s Economic Plan

Perhaps keeping an eye on the 2012 election, Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal has gone public with his critique of President Barack Obama’s proposed solutions to the country’s economic woes. ThreatDown!

Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE


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